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E39: 5 Hacks To Improve Your Sleep




Sleep is critical for healing and restoring your body, especially when it comes to restoring hormonal balance.

Over the years, I've developed a few hacks that consistently help me to sleep like a teenager every night (cause let's face it, who ever came up with the term 'sleep like a baby'?!).

If you would like to determine your period type, and what it says about your hormonal profile, you can find my free quiz here.


Transcript:

Hello and welcome to this week’s episode of the Beauty in Balance Podcast.

As always, I’m so happy to have you here and today I wanna share with you a few simple strategies that you can start implementing to improve your sleep quality.


Now maybe you’re not really paying much attention to your sleep, or it may be a massive pain point to you!

But what I really wanna drive home today, is that you can’t heal your hormones and your body, unless you have good sleep most nights.

It’s simply just impossible!

It’s important to get about 7-8 plus hours of good quality sleep each night, preferably uninterrupted.

This will help you to experience better health and hormonal balance and help you fire on all 4 cylinders.

Good sleep is also important for heart health, memory and cognitive function, energy, gut health and overall hormonal balance.


I know, personally, I really struggle if first of all, I get less than 7.5 hours of sleep each night, and secondly if my sleep is interrupted.

And usually, it takes me about 2 days and 2 nights of good sleep, to recover from a lack of sleep.

Your body literally needs sleep to regenerate itself and heal. So please please make this a priority!


So I wanna share with you 6 simple sleep hacks today, that you can literally start implementing tonight, to improve your sleep.

So are you ready?

Let’s get started.


Number 1: Avoid screens for 1-2 hours before bedtime.

I know that this one can be really hard, but it is so well worth it if you really struggle to fall asleep at night!

Exposing yourself to devices and tv right before bedtime, can overstimulate your brain with information, which will prevent you from being able to switch off.

The last thing you need to do before bedtime is stimulate your brain. You need to do the exact opposite and implement habits that will help you unwind and switch off.

Secondly, you probably know by now that the blue artificial light stimulates cortisol and suppresses melatonin.

So you’ll really struggle to fall asleep if your melatonin production is lower than your cortisol production

Latest research also shows that melatonin is a pre-cursor or building block for more mitochondria to form while you are sleeping. And mitochondria is the energy powerhouses, it’s what produces your energy so you definitely want more and very healthy mitochondria!

The worst thing that you can do is have a tv in your room. The bedroom should be reserved for intimacy and sleep. And that’s it!

So make an effort to turn off all devices at least 1 hour before bedtime.


Which brings me to the second sleep hygiene hack:

It’s crucial for you to have a healthy wind-down routine just before bedtime.

This can include reading a book or journaling, but not reading on an ipad or mobile device.

My bedtime routine looks like this:

First of all, I’ll take a long warm bath and relax for 15-20 minutes and just unwind after a long day full of work and kid activities.

Then after my bath, I’ll use my calming essential oils and also turn on the diffuser.

I turn on the bedside lamp and turn off the main lights in the bedrooms

I prepare my bed by taking all the extra pillows off and opening the duvet so it looks nice and inviting.

And then I’ll have a cup of tea with Michiel and we’ll have a late night snack around 8:30pm And then I’ll get in bed and listen to my book with the lights on dim, for about 20-30 minutes before the lights go out and we sleep.

This routine helps me to fall asleep pretty fast. I hardly ever lay awake for longer than 10 minutes when trying to fall asleep.

Your brain is literally geared for routine. Predictability is key. If your body knows what comes next, it will help create a sense of safety, so your body can wind down to fall asleep. A good routine will signal to your brain that it’s time to start switching off

So think about what your bedtime routing is like.

Is it a pleasant one that allows you to switch off, or do you keep running until you fall flat in bed.

What are the things that you can start implementing today to improve your bedtime routine?

Maybe a bedtime bath is a great place to start.


Number 3 - Prepare your room for a good sleep.

I’ve mentioned some of this in number 2 already, but having an inviting room that signals safety to your body is really important. And there are a few practical things that you can do to achieve this.

First of all, start dimming lights about an hour before bedtime.

And I recommend you do this throughout the house and not just in the bedrooms.

Also make sure that your bedroom is tidy and organised.

Assure that your bedroom is pitch black when you eventually turn the lights out. Make use of blockout blinds and ensure that there are no devices in your room that will be reflecting blue light during the night. This can be a clock or a phone that might light up even when on silent. So make sure the room is pitch balck.

And then, if at all possible, make sure the temperature is slightly lower than comfortable, so that your body temperature remains comfortable at night time.

I also turn my diffuser on once I hop out of the bath with some essential oils, and my favourite at the moment is lavender, ylang ylang and geranium. Those really help the brain to calm down.

I just love retreating to my room when it’s prepared for sleep, it’s my happy place and it definitely signals safety to my body.


Number 4 - using calming essential oils.

Before I start talking about essential oils, I need to issue a note of caution here!

I’ve spoken to many many ladies before that have told me about skin and other reactions to essential oils that they’ve used before.

So here’s what I want you to understand about essential oils.

The global essential oil industry remains uncontrolled at this stage.

It means that any company can bottle anything, add 5% essential oils and label it pure, organic essential oil.

There is nothing and nobody that will hold them accountable for that.

Poor quality essential oils can be toxic and lead to significant reactions.


And it’s because of this, the only essential oils that I recommend you use, are those produced by Young Living.

The reason for that, is that they are the only essential oil company in the world, as far as I’m aware, that comply with the european quality standards and are in the process of registering with the FDA as well.

This means that they are audited every second year to confirm that what they claim to be in the bottle, is actually in the bottle.

They also do this voluntarily, in order to give you and me the peace of mind that we need in terms of safely using these products.


So when it comes to using essential oils for sleep, I use lavender for my kids and in my bedroom and like I said, I also add ylang ylang and geranium to my diffuser.

I’ll do 2 drops of each oil and I just love the smell but it also helps my entire family to wind down.


The other essential oil that I would recommend to improve sleep, is clary sage. I use this every night after my bath, about 3-5 drops on my tummy, depending on other symptoms that I may or may not have.

Clary SAge supports estrogen balance and therefore it can be really helpful for us women who often struggle with hormonal imbalance, which will most definitely also affect your sleep.


And then finally, number 5, is using supplements and other products, for restful sleep.

I just wanna make 2 quick recommendations here.

The first, you may have guessed, is magnesium.

Please note that it is important to use magnesium WITH calcium. So either find a product that contains both of those in a ration of 2 parts calcium to 1 part magnesium.

If your magnesium product does not contain calcium, you can just use a separate calcium supplement.

And then finally, my absolute favourite, is a serum produced by Young Living as well, called progessence phyto plus.

IT is a serum containing some essential oils, but also USP grade progesterone from wild yam.

Low progesterone is a huge culprit when it comes to poor sleep. So supplementing your progesterone with this product will most definitely ha